I’ve been living in France for the past six years and I’ve traveled all around the country. From the Amiens Cathedral in Amiens to the Old Port in Marseille, I’ve been to some incredible places.
But one city that stood out was Metz, so much so that I’ve visited more than once.
It’s known for its rich history, fascinating museums, and stunning cathedrals.
So, now, you’re probably wondering what to do in Metz in one day.
In this post, I’ll share with you 15 amazing activities that you can do to make the most out of your day in this charming city.
What to Do in Metz in One Day
From the Metz Cathedral to the Porte des Allemands, Metz is the perfect destination for anyone who wants to get off the typical tourist path.
So, without further ado, here are my top recommendations for things to do while you’re in Metz for the day.
1. Explore the Musée de La Cour d’Or
The first museum I visited in Metz was the Musée de la Cour d’Or.
It’s housed in three buildings that date to the 15th century and blends history, art, and archaeology into one fascinating place. It reminded me of my visit to the Palais Rohan in Strasbourg, which is also three museums in one.
My favorite exhibit was the Roman Thermal Complex. It’s almost entirely intact and the sheer size of it was beyond impressive.
It was uncovered right there in the museum so the exhibit you’re looking at is an actual archeological dig!
Address: 2 Rue du Haut Poirier
2. Discover the Metz Cathedral
You can’t visit Metz without seeing its stunning cathedral.
Construction started in 1220 and wasn’t completed until 1550. And once you see it, it’s easy to understand why it took so long.
The intricate details on its exterior reminded me of the Strasbourg Cathedral, which also took 300 years to build.
But the Metz Cathedral is most famous for its stained-glass windows, spanning a remarkable 6,496 square meters (69,920 square feet).
That’s the largest glass surface found in any cathedral worldwide.
It also has one of the tallest naves in France, third only to the Beauvais Cathedral and the Amiens Cathedral.
Compared to the other cathedrals I’ve been to in France, it definitely tops the list.
Helpful Tip: The Metz Cathedral is also known as Saint-Étienne de Metz.
Address: Place d’Armes
3. Tour Porte des Allemands
The Porte des Allemands was one of the most spectacular monuments I saw in Metz.
It was built in the 13th century and served as a fortified gate and a bridge over the Seille River until the early 1900s.
The gate’s name originates from the Teutonic Knights (also known as Hospitaller Brothers of Notre-Dame-des-Allemands) who settled in Metz around the same time.
Today, the Porte des Allemands is one of the most impressive medieval fortifications in town.
You can tour it for free and I recommend going up to the highest tower where you’ll have a beautiful view of the city.
Then, for a panorama of the monument itself, follow Rue du Général Ferrié, and, on your left, there will be a small walkway that leads to a viewing platform.
Address: Boulevard André Maginot
4. Visit the Centre Pompidou-Metz
The Centre Pompidou-Metz was one of my favorite museums in Metz.
It first opened in 2010 as an extension of the Centre Pompidou in Paris.
Today, it’s recognized as one of the most important art museums in France, featuring an impressively large exhibition space.
Each year, it organizes up to four temporary exhibitions. They are entirely exclusive to this museum, and you won’t find them anywhere else. So, if that isn’t enough of a reason to visit, I don’t know what is.
If you want to see a specific collection, I recommend checking their website.
Address: 1 Parv. des Droits de l’Homme
5. Have Lunch at Metz’s Covered Market
After a busy morning exploring Metz, you’ll no doubt need to stop for lunch.
While there are tons of delicious places to eat, I recommend going to Metz’s Covered Market. Here you’ll find tons of fresh and delicious options.
I ate lunch at Chez Mauricette, which is near the main entrance of the market. Their quiche Lorraine was to die for. It came with a salad and green beans.
And best of all everything was prepared with fresh and local ingredients.
They also have some tasty desserts.
I ordered crème brûlée and it was out of this world.
Needless to say, it’s the perfect spot to stop and recharge before continuing your day.
Address: 15 Rue d’Estrées
6. Walk around Metz-Plages
If you happen to be visiting Metz in the summer, make sure to check out Metz-Plages.
This annual event transforms the city into a beach paradise with tons of fun activities for all ages.
There are water games and sports, live music performances, and a sandy beach area where you can relax and soak up the sun. They even have lockers where you can store your belongings.
It’s a great way to cool off and have some fun during your day in Metz.
If you’re visiting outside summer, this area is also great for a stroll. There are tons of walking paths where you can enjoy a break from the busy city center.
It’s also home to the Torii Japonais.
It was built in the 1980s for an exhibition about Japan and is now a popular attraction. If you look through it, you’ll see that it perfectly frames the Metz Cathedral.
7. Get Lost in the Side Streets
While the main attractions of Metz are definitely worth seeing, make sure to take some time to get lost in the side streets.
This is where you’ll find charming local shops, unique buildings, and hidden gems.
One of my favorite areas to wander around was Rue Mazelle. Here the streets are empty and quiet. And most tourists never make it out this way.
Everywhere I turned I found gorgeous, historic buildings and alleys like in the photo above. There were not any Art Nouveau buildings like I saw in Nancy, but they were impressive nonetheless.
Helpful Tip: The photo I took above is from Rue du Wad Bouton.
8. Check Out the Gare de Metz-Ville
The Gare de Metz-Ville is the main railway station in Metz.
But it’s more than a transportation hub. It’s also a beautiful historical building with impressive architecture.
It was commissioned by Emperor Wilhelm II as part of a greater plan to Germanize the city.
It was built after Metz was annexed to Germany during the Franco-Prussian War in what is, now, known as the Imperial District.
It opened in 1908 and has since served as a major transportation hub for the region.
If you’re coming by train, you’ll no doubt pass through it. But if you’re only in town for a day, make sure to take a few minutes to admire its beautiful architecture.
Helpful Tip: Some of the best day trips from Metz are Nancy, Verdun, and Colmar.
9. Visit the Basilica of Saint-Pierre-aux-Nonnains
The Basilica of Saint-Pierre-aux-Nonnains dates to the 4th century and is one of the oldest churches in Europe.
The building originally served as part of a Roman spa complex before being transformed into a church in the 7th century.
Then, from the 16th century until the 20th century, it was used as a warehouse.
It was restored in 1970 and now hosts events and concerts.
After you’ve toured the church, I recommend heading to the gardens next to it. It’s a peaceful spot to relax and take in the history of the area.
Address: 1 Rue de la Citadelle
10. Admire the Temple Neuf
The Temple Neuf is one of the most beautiful Protestant churches in town. It’s framed by the Moselle River, providing breathtaking views and excellent photo opportunities.
It was completed in 1904 as part of Emperor Wilhelm II’s plan to Germanize the city.
Over the years, it has been criticized for being out of place. Most of the architecture in this part of town is French and the Temple Neuf doesn’t match.
But, as you can see from the photo I took above, it’s an absolute must-visit.
For the best view, I recommend heading to the Moyen Pont.
There’s also a walking path underneath the bridge called Rue des Roches that you can follow to the church.
Address: Place de la Comédie
11. Visit to the Église Saint-Maximin
The Église Saint-Maximin is a hidden gem that I happened to stumble on while I was exploring the side streets in Metz’s Old Town.
The first church that was built here was from the 5th century and it served as a place of worship for anyone traveling to Strasbourg. It was later rebuilt in the 12th century.
Today, it’s best known for its extraordinary pale blue stained-glass windows, designed by none other than Jean Cocteau.
When I visited there was nobody else there and I had the place to myself. The blue tint from the windows combined with the blue carpet made for a very peaceful atmosphere.
Address: 65 Rue Mazelle
12. Hang Out in Jardin de l’Esplanade de Metz
The Jardin de l’Esplanade was built shortly after the citadel was dismantled in the early 19th century.
The garden is full of wide-open gravel pathways, perfect for leisurely walks, and a shaded avenue of trees near the Palais de Justice. There’s also a stunning fountain on the western end.
It’s near the Saint-Pierre-aux-Nonnains church, so after I visited the church, I came here to take a break and enjoy the relaxing environment.
Address: Place de la Comédie
13. Marvel at the Tremblement de Ciel
The Tremblement de Ciel is a golden statue that was supposed to be displayed in Paris but ended up in Metz.
It was built for the Year of Japan celebration as a sign of friendship between the two countries.
Helpful Tip: The original is in Japan and the one in Metz is a replica.
It’s located in the Jardins Jean-Marie Pelt – Parc de la Seille, a beautiful park with lots of open green spaces and walking paths.
After you visit the statue, I recommend taking a stroll and admiring the scenery.
I went in the evening as the sun was setting. The rays bounced off the Tremblement de Ciel, creating a stunning golden glow. It was truly a magical experience.
Address: Rue Louis le Débonnaire
14. Walk through the Porte Serpenoise
Porte Serpenoise was originally a medieval gateway at the southern end of Metz. It dates as far back as the third century.
Then, in 1561, it was demolished to make room for the citadel.
It was rebuilt in the mid-19th century. But, shortly after, the citadel was destroyed, and the gate was redesigned to help ease traffic.
Unlike the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, you can’t go to the top. But I thought the architecture was so beautiful that that was alone enough of a reason to visit.
Plus, if you look carefully, you’ll see the dates inscribed on the four legs.
Some are related to the gate itself while the others correspond to the most important historical events in Metz.
Address: Avenue Robert Schuman
15. Climb the Tour des Vignerons
Last but certainly not least is the Tour des Vignerons, one of my favorite spots in Metz.
I was walking to downtown Metz after visiting the Torii Japonais and saw an unsuspecting staircase along Boulevard Poincaré.
I followed it up to a small tower, which led to a spectacular view over the city.
It was a clear day so I could see as far as the Tour du Temple de La Garnison de Metz, the last remaining tower of a Protestant church.
Address: Boulevard Poincaré
Conclusion: One Day in Metz
Spending a day in Metz is a journey through one of the most fascinating cities in this part of France.
From the Metz Cathedral to the Centre Pompidou-Metz, every attraction is steeped in rich history and culture.
Best of all, one day is enough to see all the main highlights this beautiful city has to offer.
Now that you have your one-day Metz itinerary, it’s time to start planning your trip.
Why not start with buying your tickets and booking your hotel? I recommend checking out the companies I use to travel in France. It’s the best way to save money and make the most out of your trip.
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